The subject line of an email I received yesterday grabbed my attention. Not because I hadn’t thought of it before, or maybe even preached it before, but because I had, perhaps, allowed myself to be fooled again… The subject line of this “inside baseball” email was “Why Sermon Preparation Time is Not the Same as Devotional TIme”
The thesis of the article is that sermon preparation is all about how the text applies to others and, by extension, how said presentation puts our skills as a presenter on display. While that’s not always true in my case – God’s grace is manifold as is His toe-stepping – but it did make me remember one of the sermon illustrations from William Craig Lane’s book that I think applies, at least at times, to all of us!
When you think of someone buying a luxury home with a price tag of more than $1,000,000.00, you expect the new home to be of high quality. Such is not always the case, writes Julie Lovine in the Chicago Tribune. The preliminary designs for the new home of Michael Eisner, the head of Disney, included one wall that was so thin it would have buckled under its own weight. The $40 million new home of one billionaire software developer had pine siding so vulnerable to decay it started to rot before the home was even completed. It is easy for buyers to mistake luxury for quality. Experts in the home building industry say that “most buyers agonize over the wrong things.”
Tom Kligerman, a Manhattan architect, says many buyers “find it boring to spend money on foundations and stud walls. They’d rather spend it on what they can see.”
A builder of luxury homes said, “It appears that what sells houses depends on having a tub large enough for at least two people, and probably more; flashy stairs… and other glitzy, totally unnecessary elements, as opposed to spatial or constructional quality.”
As it is with homes, so it is with people. Too many people put all their effort into image and appearance and pay no attention to the quality of their character.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”1 Samuel 16:7
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.Psalm 19:14
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”Jesus in Matthew 7:24-27
To have “Character” is essentially to have “Integrity” meaning “Oneness” So I’m the same inside and out. Publicly and privately. In the light and in the dark. If you’ve ever cut down a rotten tree, or an old shed, you’ve seen first hand that integrity starts within.